i usually do this on sunday but i'm bored right now so lets go
still working on Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks. I'll probably finish it this week. i really like it! it's a lot of fun, a lot of stuff happens for not that long of a novel and Banks does some of the best action scenes I've read in my admittedly limited genre fic/action lit experience. I have 2 books on my shelf now that I haven't read, Homesick for Another World by Otessa Moshfegh and A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. I think the next one on the docket will be **Homesick for Another World
I also read The Goon Vol. 2: My Murderous Childhood (And Other Grievous Yarns) (Eric Powell) and a Y: The Last Man Vol. 5: Ring of Truth (Brian K Vaughan/Pia Guerra) this week, and while I think I'll hold off on analyzing Y until I'm finished the series (other than to say that it is very, very good and you should read it) I'd like to say a few words about The Goon. It's far from my favourite comic series but it's got a lot going for it. It's a pretty silly serial about a prohibition-era-style mob enforcer in a southeastern City (I'm guessing inspired by its creator's home state of Tennessee, but idk because I've never been near there) populated by zombies, fish people and other fantastical characters. i usually hate zombies but this isn't a horror series, it's an action-gangster-period-comedy and the zombies are basically just a bunch of asses for The Goon to kick. It's very funny and satisfying in the way that it subverts cliches of a variety of different genres while maintaining a consistent sense of character and place. A good example of what The Goon does well is the story in My Murderous Childhood that introduces Dr. Hieronymous Alloy, a scientist who has good intentions but a very ends-over-means sense of morality whose skin was turned into gold in a prior alchemical accident (really a villain that wouldn't be out of place in the majority of traditional cape series). He intends to improve the city by taking The Goon out of the picture with his killer robot, but then an elderly woman convinces him that The Goon is good for the city and if he really wants to help people he should find a way to make creamed corn less expensive (a callback joke). The issue ends with an ad for Dr. Alloy's Creamed Corn, only 35 cents. It's also written and drawn and (mostly) coloured by the same guy, which I find always lends a special quality to comic books, which often lack the singular, one-artist vision that prose novels tend to have. Powell also does beautiful oil-painted cover art.
So far in these posts I've treated prose and graphic lit, as well as serial marvel/DC style comic books, interchangeably. This was on purpose, not for the sake of arguing that comic books are capital-A Art but because I think that pulp and genre fiction are valuable and interesting to talk about and because it takes a long time to read a book and in a small community like this engaging with works that are shorter in length provides more material for discussion. As a discussion question for this week, what are your thoughts on that? Do you agree with this decision? Do you have any criticism of it?